This is my pregnancy clinic!
It’s been quite interesting being pregnant here and how the medical system works. I am very blessed that we have fantastic insurance that covers our whole pregnancy while living here outside of our monthly premium and minimal deductible! So, that being said, I was able to visit like 4 private clinics (I’ve heard the district public clinics are a bit chaotic for foreigners and you get sent to separate offices/buildings for each specialist) and choose a great clinic that helps provide a translator if my friend can’t come and they have a really nice brand new facility and my Dr. is so sweet, a Kazakh lady who hugs me every appointment! She is a hoot, as well, hah! She has been quite caring and proactive in my care. Here are a few different, and some funny things than in the US:
1) For urine samples, you buy your own cups (I bought 10 at once!) at the pharmacy, and bring your sample with you from home in said cup. 😂
2) You are either expected to do absolutely nothing as a pregnant woman (aka, I have to have a special Dr’s note to go to Zumba class at the local dance studio) OR suck it up! (like symptoms)
3) What Drs say, goes! They are the law. You are expected to do everything they tell you. (not saying I would EVER stray from that hah!)
4) You pay for your “pregnancy plan” all up front (at least at the private clinic I am at, that is how it works) and it includes a myriad of appointments
5) Said appointments include separate doctors for the following:
-MD/Therapist (I guess she’s the same person?)
I went to a couple of these and literally sat down, they asked a couple of questions, I answered no, then was out. Don’t really get it, but they want to make sure you are A-OK to have a Baby in EVERY aspect of your body!
6) They don’t put a bandaid on when you get your blood drawn, just a stinging alcohol pad with tape over it. It hurts. 😖
7) You check in at Reception, are told which floor to go to, then you are kind of on your own. Once you get to the Dr’s office of whom you are to see, if no one is waiting outside, you knock on the door, poke your head inside, and see if they are ready for you. Thankfully (at least here) they have dividers so if there is any type of examination going on, if YOU are the one on the inside, not everyone and their brother is checking things out which brings me to the next point..
8) There is not much discretion when it comes to nakedness and propriety. I won’t go into details. It’s funny, and slightly embarrassing. 😳9) They are very preventative. If there is a HINT of anything going on, there are supplements and (mostly) natural remedies to fix you up. Also, along with this, I’ve come to the conclusion that they want you to have the most perfect body you can have while pregnant. Be the best you, right? 😉
10) I actually had an “appointment” with one of my Dr’s in the hallway. For some reason, her office was occupied so we literally just briefly discussed things right there in the waiting area. 🤔
11) YOU are responsible for ALL of your paperwork, bring it EVERY time, everything, every shred of every piece of ANYTHING a Dr writes down even if it doesn’t look important! I carry around all of my documents and a little book that each Dr writes in. (they still type stuff in the computer, too, what can I say, it’s a rough transition between paperwork and electronic?) I also have to go pick up all of my urine and blood results before I go to my actual appointments 🤷🏼♀️
12) I had my one Dr, the Endocrinologist, whom I am seeing for my Thyroid, actually suggest that I take my 100 MCG levothyroxine pill and “cut” 1/10th out of it. Ummm… what???? I promised I would try (I did) but of course I failed! It is this tiny itsy bitsy pill to start with for the love, so no, I think it’s fine if I take 1/10th extra of an MCG because I can’t get the dosing in 1/10th increments. 🙄
All in all, it’s been an interesting, mostly amusing, and totally fine experience. I’ve learned to say a lot “it’s just different!” I feel safe here, well cared for, and the healthcare system is advanced enough in my opinion to feel good enough to have a Baby here! I’m excited because their labor and delivery process sounds a bit more natural which is what we prefer. I’ll have to tell you all about that in the future after our Little Girl makes her entrance into this world 😃